iPad: Poll Numbers and Spin, or Why You Should Pay Attention

I got an email from Telecom TV with the screaming headline:

Oh dear! 52 per cent of consumers don’t want an iPad

I know, right? So I click the link and start reading. Keep in mind that Martyn Warwick will never be called a fan of Apple or Steve Jobs.

?Last month, before the new device was launched, an earlier survey showed that 26 per cent of consumers who were aware of the hype surrounding the imminent arrival of the iPad had no interest in buying one.

Now a follow-up study indicates that, as the Retrevo blog puts it, Apple has suffered “a failure to convince any new buyers to consider the iPad.” It adds, “Not only did Apple fail to convince new buyers, it may have lost many potential buyers who now say they don’t think they need an Apple tablet computer.”

That’s because, to quote Retrevo again, “Consumers lost interest after the [iPad] announcement. Retrevo’s study asked consumers whether or not they had heard about the tablet before the tablet was introduced and again after the announcement. The word definitely got out as the number of respondents saying they had heard about the tablet rose from 48% shortly before the announcement to over 80% after the media frenzy on January 27th.”

Wow, right? But guess what? I’m not a tech person and I’ve never heard of Retrevo before this article. I’m not going to just take this at face value. I want to know the polling size, how the people were selected, the questions…in other words, the details. So, I searched for “Retrevo ipad survey” (without the quotes) and noticed a link to MacDailyNews at the top of the search results touting the same exact survey.



I couldn’t resist clicking that MacDailyNews link and was greeted with the screaming headline:

Retrevo survey shows likely iPad buyers tripled after Jobs’ unveiling

I know, right? So I click the link and start reading. Keep in mind that MacDailyNews will definitely can be called a fan of Apple or Steve Jobs.

?A follow-up study from Retrevo, an online electronics marketplace, looks at Retrevo users’ interest in buying the new Apple iPad. Retrevo conducted two surveys, one before the iPad unveiling (Jan. 16-Jan. 20) and one after (Jan. 27 – Feb. 3).

The study indicates good news for Apple, with respondents who replied “Yes, I think I would like to buy one” tripling from 3% to 9%. And, this is two months before the device ships, before any real reviews have been conducted and published, and before people begin to see what iPads can do in Apple Retail Stores and, most-importantly, in the hands of their friends, family, and co-workers.

Interesting how these two sights can see the same data, but come up with different headlines.  But you know what? I’m still curious about Retrevo.

I went to Retrevo’s site to learn about this survey. There’s some interesting graphics and down at the bottom you learn more about the survey:

?Data for this report came from a study of more than 1000 randomly selected Retrevo users. A first random sample of users were surveyed between Jan 16-20, 2010 before the Apple Tablet was announced. A second random sample of users were surveyed between Jan 27 – Feb 3, 2010, after the announcement. The sample was distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most questions had a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.

I guess at this point you’d expect some sort of analysis and if I really cared I’m sure I’d be able to provide that. But my real focus of this is urge readers not to blindly quote polls or even regurgitate what you read on random sites. Look deeper, make sure the sampling size of these polls makes sense, look at the questions (if you can) and by all means, use your own brain.

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